I must start by saying that I do not enjoy working my abs. It’s hard! It sucks! There is really nothing fun about it. In fact, if anyone was to tell me they actually enjoy doing sit-ups, I might question their ability to tell their truth…or their sanity. I think we can agree, this is not something we wake up to on a given morning and look forward to.
The fact of the matter is, if you are going to be a runner of any distance, you really should do some sort of ab workout to go along with running. When I have trained for longer races in the past and skipped doing ab workouts, I started to get back problems because the front and back of my core were out of alignment due to my back being stronger than my abs. So I learned my lesson and worked them into my running routine. The exercises also improve the bikini situation although I have never come close to looking like this.
In the past three years, I had two long reprieves from ab workouts while pregnant with each of my girls. My doctor is adamant that doing ab workouts while pregnant actually has the opposite effect than what you desire and can cause the muscle to take longer to recover postpartum. He says that ab exercises are pretty much pointless until four months postpartum and I was happy to oblige to that medical advice.
If you are doing the math, each child gives you an awesome excuse for a year off from ab exercises. I revelled in it and then alas, the time was up. I started getting back into the routine of doing ab exercises around September of last year.
Since then, I have tried a lot of different approaches to core workouts. The 8-minute abs video on youtube is a great, quick way to work your core in you-guessed-it, eight minutes where the only downside is the cheesy music and 1990s lycra workout attire. The Tracy Anderson Post-Pregnancy Workout works primarily abs, but also legs and arms. I like it when I am not in the mood to sweat but I still want a killer ab workout. The disadvantage of the workout is the lack of enthusiasm of the instructor and the fact that it is 45-minutes long. I also don’t know if I trust that Tracy Anderson really knows what she is doing. The ab disc of P90X, called Ab Ripper X, takes closer to 20 minutes but does a great job of ripping your abs. I like the first half of the exercises better than the second though.
Since none of these workouts totally does it for me, I decided to take the best exercises of the bunch, add a few of my own and form my own killer ab workout.
Without further ado, we’ve got 12 sets of 25 reps of some very challenging ab work.
1. Basic Crunch
2. Oblique V-Lifts (right)
3. Oblique V-Lifts (left)
4. Plank Twists
For the next six exercises, watch the first 4:35 of Tracy’s Post-Pregnancy video.
5. Pike ups with 3-lb. weight
6. Frog Legs with 3-lb. weight
7. Side plank with right arm up while looking down, hold for 25 seconds
8. Side plank with left arm up while looking down, hold for 25 seconds
9. Elbow plank, hold for 25 seconds, then tap knees to ground 5 times
10. Elbow plank, hold for 15 seconds with alternate leg lifts (10 total: 5 on each leg)
Tracy looks like a toothpick, but she is killer strong. It is amazing to watch her do those exercises with such ease.
11. Bicycle Crunch
12. Mason Twist (touching each side 20-25 times)
That’s it, the Best Ab Workout Ever! This workout takes me about 15 minutes and has made my abs Strong! It’s super tough so if this is your first ab workout in awhile, start by doing only 5 reps of each exercise and then add an additional 5 reps each week. I recommend doing this three times a week.
I was originally thinking I would make a video with all of the exercises together but it turns out youtube is packed with exercise videos so I compiled a collection from existing videos. If it would be helpful, I could still make a consolidated video.
Do you have any favorite ab exercises you would recommend adding to this set?